Ok, I was a little eager yesterday. I freaked out because I thought the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack was only streaming for a day, and I had already missed half the day, and I better hurry up and tell you about it! But I was mistaken, and it is still streaming, and I don’t know when it will stop or if it ever will, so I’m just going to talk about it now. And you have more time than I thought to listen to it, which is pretty great.
First of all, if you don’t know about this movie, you’re a little freaking behind and you need to catch up!! Check out the trailer or something.
Now, for the music. Karen O & the Kids are doing the soundtrack. Who are Karen O & the Kids? They are a lovely assortment of indie rockers from everywhere! And I’m just going to copy & paste them from imeem because let’s be honest, there are a lot of them. We’ve got Tristan Bechet (Services), Tom Biller (co-producer with Karen O and member of Afternoons), Bradford Cox (Deerhunter), Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age, The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs), Aaron Hemphill (Liars), Greg Kurstin (The Bird and the Bee), Jack Lawrence (The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs, The Greenhornes), Oscar Michel (Gris Gris), Imaad Wasif (New Folk Implosion, Alaska), Nick Zinner, (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and an untrained children’s choir. Here is a new rule: whenever a children’s choir is involved, and it isn’t a lame Christmas song or Michael W. Smith, awesomeness abounds.
What I love about this soundtrack is very closely connected to what I know I’m going to love about this movie. Spike Jonze is taking this dearly loved children’s book, which interestingly enough “belongs” to a generation that is older now and adjusting to adulthood, and making it something that will speak both to children and to “everyone you have ever known.” Check out the featurette w/Maurice Sendak and Spike Jonze. The soundtrack portrays this beautifully. Karen O has assembled this group for their talent and their spirit.
Much of the soundtrack is percussive, full of humming and finger snaps, with simple melodies and spirited vocals, sometimes from the kids’ choir which always rocks (“Animal,” for instance…who doesn’t love it?). Of course as a soundtrack, there’s a decent number of instrumental tracks which are full of gorgeous harmonies, sometimes sparse and sometimes loaded with layers, and also sometimes with some la-de-da’s (“Cliffs,” “Lost Fur”). I am in love with the emotion–the constant changes in mood are absolutely perfect–the angsty “Capsize” melting into a vulnerable “Worried Shoes”…freaking AMAZING. Every song seems to have its own meaning, musically reflecting subtleties that we often can’t put into words when describing “how we feel.” Sometimes you want to dance (“Heads Up”) and sometimes you want to cry (“Worried Shoes”). All in all, the whole thing is just beautiful. And you should listen to it, and also you should go see the movie, and also you should watch this video.
“To Oscar-nominated Where the Wild Things Are director Spike Jonze, however, Karen O and her music possess something of a child-like innocence, a guileless charm that put her exactly on the right emotional wavelength to sonically capture the film, be it a tender moment or a wild rumpus.” –you got it, imeem writer guy/girl. This soundtrack is utter perfection. And I haven’t even seen the damn movie yet.